Fernando Alvarez Borges


Fernando Alvarez Borges is a PDRA on beamline I12-JEEP.

Email: fernando.alvarez-borges@diamond.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 1235 77 7528

Key Research Interests

Geomechanics, Geotechnics, X-ray imaging, Geosciences.

Latest Publications

Research Expertise

My main research field is Geomechanics and its engineering applications, also known as Geotechnical Engineering. Topics I have been working on recently are presented below.

1. Pile-rock interface characterisation for piles supporting offshore aerogenerators

Since 2014, I have been carrying out research on the loading capacity of piled foundations used to support offshore wind turbines installed in areas underlain by soft carbonate rocks, like the North Sea Chalk. As part of this work, I use high-resolution X-ray comptued tomography (XCT) to study the pile-rock interface on scaled physical models. The general aim is to produce more efficient pile designs by improving our understanding of the underlying mechanics that control the shearing behaviour of the interface, and the vertical loading capacity of these piles. This will help reduce the economic cost and greenhouse gas footprint associated with deploying offshore wind turbines, a valuable source of renewable energy.

2. Visualisation of methane gas hydrate formation and dissociation mechanisms in sandy sediments

Since 2019, I have been participating in research involving the in-situ application of XCT in experiments that replicate methane gas hydrate formation and dissociation processes. A vast amount of methane, a greenhouse gas, is stored in ice-like hydrates located in the pores of some deep-sea sediments and permafrost. A warming environment may lead to the release of this stored gas and further exacerbate climate change. However, methane gas release can also affect sediment stability and put important seabed infrastructure at risk, like pipelines and communications cables. The aim of this work is to observe and quantify potentially destabilising changes in the fabric of hydrate-bearing sediments using very high-resolution imaging.


I currently formally collaborate with:

University of Southampton

Collaborators: Prof David Richards; Prof William Powrie; Dr Madhusudhan Murthy

We use the world-class Geomechanics research facilities at the National Infrastructure Laboratory hosted by the University of Southampton to carry out physical and mechanical characterisation work of the soil and rock materials that we use in our in-situ imaging experiments at Diamond Light Source.


These are my published works as of December 2020 (most recent first):

Alvarez-Borges F.J., Ahmed S.I., Madhusudhan B.N. and Richards D.J. (2020) Investigation of pile penetration in calcareous soft rock using X-ray computed tomography. Int J Phys Model Geotech Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1680/jphmg.20.00031

Alvarez-Borges F.J., Madhusudhan B.N. and Richards D.J. (2020) Mechanical behaviour of low–medium density destructured White Chalk. Geotech Lett 10, No. 2, 360-366. doi: 10.1680/jgele.20.00009

Alvarez-Borges F.J., Madhusudhan B.N. and Richards D.J. (2018) The 1D normal compression line and structure permitted space of low-medium density chalk. Geotech Lett 8, No. 4, 298-304. doi: 10.1680/jgele.18.00091

Alvarez-Borges F.J., Clayton C.R.I., Richards D.J. and Madhusudhan B.N. (2018) The effect of the remoulded void ratio on unit shaft friction in small-displacement piles in chalk. In: Engineering in Chalk, Proceedings of the Chalk 2018 Conference (Lawrence J., Preene M., Lawrence U. and Buckley R.M. (eds)). ICE Publishing, 475-480. doi: 10.1680/eiccf.64072.475

Alvarez-Borges F.J., Richards D.J., Clayton C.R.I. and Ahmed S.I. (2018) Application of X-ray computed tomography to investigate pile penetration mechanisms in chalk. In: Engineering in Chalk, Proceedings of the Chalk 2018 Conference (Lawrence J., Preene M., Lawrence U. and Buckley R.M. (eds)). ICE Publishing, 565-570. doi: 10.1680/eiccf.64072.565

Alvarez-Borges F.J., Madhusudhan B.N. and Richards D.J. (2018) Stiffness of Destructured Weak Rock. In: Micro to MACRO Mathematical Modelling in Soil Mechanics (Giovine P., Mortara G. and Mariano P. (eds)). Springer Nature, 1-9. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-99474-1_1

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